How many times have we heard the story of “The Fall of Man.” The man is tricked by the woman who is tricked by the snake into disobeying G and they are thrown from the Garden. To some it is the original sin. How sad! I tell you this because I was involved in that ‘sin’. I was involved in the ‘sin’ of the Golden Calf. I was the stranger who wrestled with Yaakov. I was all of those which people call temptations. But I want to share my side of the story. Especially now right before the holy day of joy, Simhat Torah. You see I have a role in that too. But let me introduce myself. I am a Mal’ach, a messenger, that some call angels. When they refer to me they say that I am the ‘fallen angel’. But that is not true. I sit in the Yeshiva Shel Ma’alah, the Study hall of Heaven with the other messengers. I am no more or less than they. I am just more misunderstood by you earthlings. When you call my name, you do so with fear and disdain, for I am Satan (pronounced SahTan) and I was created to serve humanity and that is what I do and I can prove it.
I will give you two examples, one from the beginning of the human spirit quest and one from the giving of Torah in the form of tablets on Mt. Sinai.
Think about the Garden of Eden for a moment. The 2 earthlings had no knowledge, not even of procreation. They were placed in The Garden, for what purpose. Do you think that G had no reason or rhyme to this creation. No indeed! The Garden was a launching pad for the spirit growth which is humanity. Let us examine the evidence. 2 blank humans are placed in The Garden. They are given all that is necessary to survive. Then two trees are placed in The Garden, The Tree of Eternal Life and the Tree of (the search for) Knowledge. Does G create without reason? The Tree of Eternal Life is placed off somewhere out of sight, out of mind. But the Tree of (the search for) Knowledge is placed smack dab in the middle of The Garden. On top of that G emanated the knowledge that the tree was special, with a big “Do Not Eat!” sign on it. Well anyone who has children cannot but be aware of what will happen next. And to help the process there is Sammy Snake to chat up the earthling, regarding the fruit of The Tree. Now let us stop for a second and examine the possibilities. There are only four of them.
Number 1: The earthlings eat of neither tree and live their lives like cattle and die without progeny.
Number 2: The earthlings eat of the Tree of Eternal Life which necessitates that they cannot procreate (the price one pays for eternal life). They live forever without intellectual or spiritual growth in The Garden, ageless, changeless cattle.
Number 3: The earthlings eat from both trees. In this case they live forever, learning, growing, spirits expanding. But they cannot share the knowledge. The precious growth of spirit cannot be passed on to future generations.
You can see, can’t you that there is only one option.
Number 4: They had to eat of The Tree of (the search for) Knowledge. But once they eat from that tree, they have to leave The Garden. Growth comes from challenge. If everything is provided, then growth is stifled. They had to leave the womb of The Garden and live in a world of challenge and choice. That is where I come in. I took the form of Sammy the Snake. I was the one who convinced them to take that first step on the path to humanity. It was the only thing to do, and I was sent to do it for all human growth. Yet humans vilify me for the gift of choice that I gave them.
Is this not proof that I should not be treated so harshly in story and song? Then let me give you one more example, one that fits this wonderful Holy Day of Simhat Torah. You have heard that there were two sets of tablets given by G. The first were broken by Moshe when he saw that golden calf and the second were brought down and given, finally, to the people. What you might not know is that the first set was actually written by G. This people fresh from the narrow place of narrow minds was going to be given something actually written by G. They could not have handled such a thing. It would have become for them an eye-doll. But Moshe would not hear of it. He was so moved by G’s writing that he could not see the limitations of his people. So I had to show him.
I set their clocks ahead. They thought that he was late. They thought that he might not be coming back. They thought that he was a god and, like the gods of Egypt, he could die. So they cried out: “See this Moshe is late, make for us another god.” I knew, of course what Moshe’s reaction would be. He could not give the written word of G to a people of such weak faith, too young as a freed people to understand. He dashed them on the rock. But when the people realized that neither he nor a hunk of gold could be gods, Moshe returned to the mountain. But this time G insisted that Moshe write the words. You might think that this made them less powerful. But no, it imbued the words with more power. G spoke and Moshe wrote. And as a result humans have “Torah SheBichtav,” the written Torah that Moshe recorded. But because it was written down by Moshe, the people realized that they could be involved in Torah. They could take in and take up Torah. They could receive and roll out Torah. That involvement is called “Torah SeBa’al Peh,” “The Torah of the mouth.” Humanity is to be involved in the process of Torah. It is to be discussed and debated. You are to argue and object. But most of all, you are to be connected to the living word of G. Because of what I was sent to do, Torah is a living process not an antique artifact.
I know that I have a bad reputation, no one is going to name their son or daughter Satan. But before you condemn me too harshly, take a moment and remember and reflect on this messenger of choices. I want no more than that. I only offer choices, it is for you to choose wisely.